Kidney research center to receive $6.2 million

The George M. O’Brien Kidney Center at Yale has been notified of a $6.2 million grant award from the NIDDK of the NIH to fund the George M. O'Brien Kidney Center at Yale for the five-year period 2013-2018.

The overarching goal of the Center,  which is directed by Peter S. Aronson, M.D. (Associate Director: Stefan Somlo),  is to facilitate basic, translational and clinical research that will advance the prevention and treatment of kidney diseases.  Major research areas of emphasis are renal epithelial cell biology and physiology; inherited kidney disease and kidney development; acute kidney injury (AKI) and chronic kidney disease (CKD); and vascular biology, inflammation and glomerular disease.

A critically important benefit of the Center is to provide renal investigators both at Yale and across the country with access to highly specialized services not otherwise routinely available to support their research. To this end, the Center includes three research service cores:

Renal Physiology Core: Patricia Preisig and Tong Wang, Co-Directors

The Renal Physiology Core provides training and services to assess renal function in small animals at the level of single tubules studied in vitro and in vivo (e.g. micropuncture, microperfusion, microdissection), the kidney (e.g. clearance studies in anesthetized animals, perfusion fixation), and the intact organism (e.g. plasma and urine assays of BUN, creatinine, Na, K, Ca, Mg, albumin; measurements of blood acid-base parameters and renal net acid excretion; balance studies; acute and chronic blood pressure measurements).

Mouse Genetics and Cell Line Core: Stefan Somlo and Lloyd Cantley, Co-Directors

The Mouse Genetics and Cell Line Core provides training and services to generate unique in vivo mouse models and kidney specific cell lines.  These services include modification of genes of interest in bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) for use in transgenic mice, and isolation of highly purified non-immortalized cells of any kidney cell type for which there is a cell-specific Cre-mouse strain available.

Human Genetics and Clinical Research Core: Richard Lifton, Director; Chirag Parikh, Associate Director

The Human Genetics and Clinical Research Core provides training and services to enhance translational studies in kidney disease, particularly in the area of human genetics.  This core provides infrastructure support for several key steps in translational research, including development of HIC protocols, patient recruitment, and patient DNA extraction and archiving.  Tools for genetic and genomic studies include whole exome sequencing, whole genome SNP genotyping, targeted SNP genotyping, transcriptome sequencing, and training in data analysis.

Our cores currently have a combined user base of approximately 90 investigators, including over 40 at outside institutions.

A Pilot and Feasibility Program has the goals of providing initial project funding for young investigators, attracting new investigators into the field of kidney disease research, and fostering translational and clinical studies directly related to kidney diseases.  In addition, an Enrichment Program enhances kidney disease research by maximizing interaction and information sharing among renal investigators and trainees, and by providing activities to enhance recruitment and education of all levels of trainees from undergraduate students to postdoctoral fellows.

This article was submitted by Michael E Fitzsousa on September 18, 2013.